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Adpositions and Grammatical Features


Modeling Adpositions

One of the few things that can be uncontroversially claimed about the putative category adposition is that it is difficult to classify. Even though adpositions have been gaining more attention (O’Dowd 1998; Koopman 2000; Zeller 2001; Zwart 2005; den Dikken 2006; Svenonius 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008; Djamouri et al. 2012 among others), their classification identity continues to be a problem. Adpositions have been classified as a functional class (Grimshaw 1991, 2005; Baker 2003; DeLancey 2005), a lexical class (Jackendoff 1973, 1977; Chomsky 1981; Koopman 2000) and as a semi-lexical class (Zeller 2001; Mardale 2011). In addition to this, adpositions have been described as a word class in the middle (Kiparsky 1983), a split word class (Hudson 2000), and as a word class that is simply difficult to cross-linguistically describe (Haspelmath 2007). In some languages adpositional forms appear to only be functionally represented (Yoruba, Igbo, Japanese …) while in other languages, there appear to be both functional and lexical adpositional forms (English, Mandarin, German, Dutch, Persian …). This class thus appears to defy within many frameworks the unity found with word classes where meaning, use and form all align with the traditional functional/lexical division of labor. Nevertheless, this grouping of linguistic items appears to be distinct from other linguistic
categories in semantic function and syntactic distribution. This therefore creates problems for grammatical models that depend upon a strict lexical/functional distinction for the organization of morphemes.

Orthographic Transfer Effects


Orthographic Errors in English by Arabic Speakers

This study investigates the possible cause(s) of English spelling errors by Arabic learners of English (ALEs). Studies show that ALEs make significantly more English spelling errors than other English second-language learner groups. Studies also show ALEs make more errors with vowels. The omission of short vowels in Arabic writing has been proposed to cause vowel blindness in English, resulting in the poorer spelling performance. This study evaluates this claim by comparing the distribution of short and long-vowel errors and vowel and consonant error types from handwritten texts by ALEs. While this study found more vowel than consonant errors, only the distribution of vowel graph-choice and insertion errors significantly differed from the number of consonant errors by subcategory. Graph-choice errors, not omission errors, were exceedingly the most common error type. Vowel length was not significantly associated with either vowel omission or graph-choice as expected under the vowel blindness hypothesis. The results, thus, did not indicate a missing vowel orthographic transfer effect as the primary reason for ALE orthographic production difficulty in English. Instead, this paper proposes an underdeveloped lexical-orthographic-representation hypothesis to account for both the degree and range of errors found. This study also found that low and high proficiency groups only significantly differed in consonant graph-choice and silent-graph error categories, with the advanced group performing better. These results suggest that ALE spelling skills are not markedly improving with the advancement of other writing skills and that ALEs may need explicit spelling instruction, especially to connect vowel phonemes with multiple graphemes.

Production and Negotiation in English
Improving Academic Writing of Japanese Undergraduates


The Evolving Argument: Negotiating Improved Academic Writing Skills and Class Cohesion

It is often difficult for instructors to prompt Japanese students to negotiate their opinions. Negotiation, however, plays a central role in second language learning and is a key component of active learning. As the pedagogical prominence of active learning continues to gain attention in Japan, instructors may feel challenged balancing guidance with activity.My work in this paper describes a semester-long activity designed to facilitate negotiation to produce better class cohesion, critical thinking, and academic writing skills. The results suggest stronger class cohesion and that the writing structure and cohesion from the group activity transferred to individual work. Grammatical peer-feedback, however, appeared to be minimal.I look to continue further work and innovation with this activity and similar activities to improve English education at Nagoya University and in Japan. 

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